Thursday, July 31, 2008

Justice Questions

Manipulation at Justice (also watch Hamdan secrecy in trial today and blog at Human Rights First later tonight or tomorrow)

The Bush administration has been nailed for more political manipulation of the Justice Department in another report from the agency's inspector general.

Expect more to come. The probe continues into the firings of eight U.S. attorneys allegedly because they did not hew to the Bush administration's political agenda...

Top aides to former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales broke civil-service rules by brazenly using political considerations to make hiring decisions for nonpolitical positions. The officials ruled out first-rate candidates because of their political leanings — in one case, because of a spouse's political activities — or elevated others because they fit a conservative ideology....

Still anticipated are findings related to the firing of the U.S. attorneys, including John McKay, who headed the Western Washington District office. Among the concerns are what might be perjury — remember Gonzales' inartful hemming, hawing and do-not-recalling before Congress — and witness intimidation. One fired prosecutor was warned about cooperating with congressional inquiries or talking to the press.

Especially concerning is the idea that these prosecutors were fired not for failing the duties of their office but for failing the Bush administration's political ends.

For instance, McKay was contacted by an aide to Republican Congressman Doc Hastings, inquiring about his actions related to the controversial 2004 gubernatorial election — in which the Democratic candidate won on the third recount by a mere 133 votes. David Iglesias, a U.S. attorney in New Mexico, fielded calls from a senator and a congresswoman asking whether he would file indictments in a public corruption case before the next election.

Since their congressional testimony, both men have confirmed they were interviewed by House ethics committee investigators....

Copyright © 2008 The Seattle Times Company

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Impeachment/Kucinich on Air America 9 PM ET -- Next Step...

Impeachment Step 2

Tell your Representatives to co-sponsor Rep. Kucinich's 35 Articles of Impeachment:

After more than three years of grassroots pressure from true patriots like you, Congress finally took step 1 towards impeaching George W. Bush for his High Crimes by holding a "non-impeachment hearing" last Friday.

Witnesses led by Dennis Kucinich, Elliot Adams, Rocky Anderson, Bob Barr, Vincent Bugliosi, Bruce Fein, Maurice Hinchey, and Elizabeth Holtzman presented an overwhelming case for impeachment. Watch the individual videos and the wrap-up by American News Project.

Most of the Democrats who attended the hearings were excellent . If one of these is your Representative, or if you contributed to their campaigns, please call 202-224-3121 to thank them for supporting impeachment: Dennis Kucinich, Robert Wexler, Tammy Baldwin, Keith Ellison, Maurice Hinchey, Sheila Jackson-Lee, and Hank Johnson.

Chairman John Conyers insisted it was not an "impeachment hearing." But he also said, "I believe the evidence on these matters is both credible and substantial and warrant the response of the executive branch, under oath if at all possible... Let me add, we are not done yet, and we do not intend to go away until we achieve the accountability that Congress is entitled to and the American people deserve ."

And by the end of the hearing, even the see-no-evil Republican witnesses admitted Congress should consider impeachment. So what stands in the way of real impeachment hearings?

1. 228 Democrats (and 199 Republicans) who have not co-sponsored Articles of Impeachment against George Bush. Tell your Representatives to co-sponsor Rep. Kucinich's 35 Articles of Impeachment:

2. Key Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee who do not support impeachment.

a. Impeachment Hamlets: Bobby Scott, Zoe Lofgren, and Jerry Nadler believe Bush committed impeachable offfenses, but they are terrified to support impeachment. Call them to find out why they can't make up their minds:

b. AWOL Democrats: These members showed their contempt for the Constitution (and their constituents) by not even attending the July 25 hearing: Howard Berman, Rick Boucher, Artur Davis, Bill Delahunt, Luis Gutierrez, Linda Sanchez, Betty Sutton, Maxine Waters, Anthony Weiner. Call them to find out why they failed to do their jobs - and when they will support impeachment:

c. Impeachment opponents: Adam Schiff, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, and Mel Watt believe none of Bush's High Crimes are impeachable. Call them to find out why they have betrayed their Oath of Office:

3. House Democratic "Leaders" who oppose impeachment: Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, Caucus Chair Rahm Emanuel, Whip Jim Clyburn, and DCCC chair Chris Van Hollen believe impeachment would hurt Democrats in November. Call them to say serious impeachment hearings will expose Republican High Crimes and help Democrats at all levels:

4. The Corporate Media

Despite six hours of in-depth hearings, there was no substantive coverage in any Corporate Media outlet. Call your favorite TV/radio talk shows and write to your favorite newspaper to demand coverage of impeachment.

On Tuesday at 10 pm ET / 7 pm PT, Air America's Richard Greene will discuss impeachment with Dennis Kucinich. Guests also include Mimi Kennedy and Tim Carpenter of Progressive Democrats of America. Listen online:


Check out our New Website Features

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If you are not registered at your current address, click here to register today:

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Forward this message to everyone you know!
Please join me on Richard Greene's Clout on Air America this Tuesday, July 29--I'll be co-hosting with Tim Carpenter. Keep us on the air by listening to the live-stream on your computer, and by calling into the show.

Click here to listen in at 9:00 PM EDT (I don't know why this says 9 PM ET and the earlier notice says 10 PM ET?, 6:00 PM PDT, Tuesday July, 29.

PDA response is measured through the live stream. The more of you who listen on your computer, the more likely we’ll stay on the air. Just click here. The same is true for phone calls, so please call in to the show at 866-303-2270, too.

Now that we are well into the countdown to Denver, our first guest in the first hour will be PDA's endorsed Healthcare NOT Warfare candidate from Colorado's 2nd Congressional District, State Senator Joan Fitz-Gerald.

Stay online and listen to the second hour featuring my friend, the Honorable Congressman from Ohio, Rep. Dennis Kucinich. Hear about the Judiciary Committee hearing held last Friday on the "Abuses of Executive Power."

Listen online here--it's going to be an exciting show. Please join us!

Mimi Kennedy
PDA Advisory Board Chair

Progressive Democrats of America is a grassroots PAC that works both inside the Democratic Party and outside in movements for peace and justice. Our goal: Elect a permanent, progressive majority in 2008. PDA's advisory board includes seven members of Congress and activist leaders such as Tom Hayden, Medea Benjamin, Jim Hightower, Thom Hartmann and Rev. Lennox Yearwood.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Justice Officials Broke the Law

(Also see Wash Post who broke the story, Huff Post for all the responses)

The New York Times July 29, 2008
Report Faults Aides in Hiring at Justice Dept.

Senior aides to former Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales broke Civil Service laws by using politics to guide their hiring decisions, picking less-qualified applicants for important nonpolitical positions, slowing the hiring process at critical times and damaging the department’s credibility, an internal report concluded on Monday.

A longtime prosecutor who drew rave reviews from his supervisors was passed over for an important counter-terrorism slot because his wife was active in Democratic politics, and a much-less-experienced lawyer with Republican leanings got the job, the report said.

Another prosecutor was rejected for a job in part because she was thought to be a lesbian. And a Republican lawyer received high marks at his job interview because he was found to be sufficiently conservative on the core issues of “god, guns + gays.”

The report, prepared by the Justice Department’s inspector general and its internal ethics office, centered on the misconduct of a small circle of aides to Mr. Gonzales, including Monica Goodling, a former top adviser to the attorney general, and Kyle Sampson, his former chief of staff. It also found that White House officials were actively involved in some hiring decisions.

According to the report, officials at the White House first developed a method of searching the Internet to glean the political leanings of a candidate and introduced it at a White House seminar called The Thorough Process of Investigation. Justice Department officials then began using the technique to search for key phrases or words in an applicant’s background, like “abortion,” “homosexual,” “Florida recount,” or “guns.”

The report focused its sharpest criticism on Ms. Goodling, a young lawyer from the Republican National Committee who rose quickly in the department to become a top aide to Mr. Gonzales.

Before a crush of cameras, Ms. Goodling testified before Congress in May 2007 at the height of the uproar over the firings of nine United States attorneys, admitting that she may have “crossed the line” at times in using politics in hiring decisions. But Monday’s report catalogued an effort much more systematic than Ms. Goodling described, leading some Democrats to charge that she, Mr. Sampson and Mr. Gonzales should be investigated for perjury.

Last month, the inspector general, Glenn A. Fine, and the Office of Professional Responsibility released a separate report that found a similar pattern of politicized hiring at the Justice Department in reviewing applications from young lawyers for the honors and intern programs.

The report released on Monday goes much further in documenting pervasive evidence of political hiring for some of the department’s most senior career positions, including immigration judges, assistant United States attorneys and even senior counterterrorism positions.

The pattern appeared most damaging in the hiring of immigration judges, as vacancies were allowed to go unfilled — and a backlog of deportation cases grew — while Mr. Gonzales’s aides looked for conservative lawyers to fill what were supposed to be apolitical jobs.

The inspector general’s investigation found that Ms. Goodling and a handful of other senior aides to Mr. Gonzales used in-person interviews and Internet searches to screen out candidates who might be too liberal and identify candidates seen as pro-Republican and supportive of President Bush.

One senior official, in describing Ms. Goodling’s strategy, likened it to a “farm system” used to fill temporary vacancies at the Justice Department with Republicans who could then move up.

The actions of Ms. Goodling, Mr. Sampson and other aides constituted official misconduct in violation of federal Civil Service laws and the department’s internal policies, the report concluded. Those who violated civil service laws cannot generally be prosecuted under criminal law.

All but one of the Justice Department officials cited in the report for misconduct have now left the department, meaning they are not subject to internal discipline. The report recommended that the Justice Department consider disciplinary action against the only remaining official, John Nowacki, who investigators found had drafted a statement to the news media concealing Ms. Goodling’s misconduct even though he knew the statement to be inaccurate.

Ms. Goodling and other lawyers named in the report could face disciplinary action from their local bar associations, including the possible loss of their bar licenses, officials said.

When interviewed by the inspector general, Mr. Gonzales said he was not aware that Ms. Goodling and other aides were using political criteria in their decisions for career positions. The report did not offer any direct evidence to contradict that assertion. Mr. Gonzales resigned last summer in the face of mounting accusations from Congressional Democrats that politics had corrupted the department.

His successor, Attorney General Michael B. Mukasey, said in a statement on Monday after the report’s release that he was “of course disturbed by their findings that improper political considerations were used in hiring decisions relating to some career employees.” His statement included a vow to prevent such actions from happening again.

A White House spokesman, Tony Fratto, said of Monday’s report, “There really is not a lot new here.”

A lawyer for Ms. Goodling, John Dowd, said he had not had time to read through the report in detail and declined to comment on specific findings. Mr. Dowd rejected the suggestion from top Democrats, including Representative John Conyers of Michigan, chairman of the Judiciary Committee, that the Justice Department investigate possible perjury charges against Ms. Goodling. “I think it’s outrageous what he said,” Mr. Dowd said. “There was no perjury here.”

Mr. Sampson’s lawyer, Bradford Berenson, said that the report’s substance was consistent with what his client told Congress and that Mr. Sampson’s own role in using political considerations in hiring immigration lawyers stemmed from uncertainty about the law.

In her position as White House liaison for the Justice Department, Ms. Goodling was involved in hiring lawyers for both political appointments and nonpolitical career positions. Regardless of the type of position, the report said, Ms. Goodling would run applicants at interviews through the same batch of questions, asking them about their political philosophies, why they wanted to serve President Bush, and who, aside from Mr. Bush, they admired as public servants, the report found. Sometimes, Ms. Goodling would ask: “Why are you a Republican?”

In Ms. Goodling’s notes from the interviews, she would give a shorthand assessment of how well they fared on threshold political issues, as in the notation for one candidate who she wrote was aptly conservative on “god, guns + gays.”

In forwarding a résumé in 2006 from a lawyer who was working for the Federalist Society, Ms. Goodling sent an e-mail message to the head of the Office of Legal Counsel, Steven Bradbury, saying: “Am attaching a résumé for a young, conservative female lawyer.” Ms. Goodling interviewed the woman and wrote in her notes such phrases as “pro-God in public life,” and “pro-marriage, anti-civil union.” The woman was eventually hired as a career prosecutor.

Such consideration of political views would have been allowed in hiring candidates to political appointments, which make up a tiny part of the Justice Department’s 110,000 employees, but it was clearly banned under both Civil Service law and the Justice Department’s internal policies, the inspector general said.

The problem appears to have predated Ms. Goodling’s rise at the Justice Department. In one episode cited in 2004, when John Ashcroft was attorney general, Ms. Goodling’s predecessor as White House liaison, Susan Richmond, blocked the deputy attorney general’s office from extending the stint of one lawyer because she felt that the job should be filled by a political appointee loyal to Mr. Bush, the report said.

American Mercenary Spying, Accountability & More is Way out of Hand

"Successive administrations and Congresses have made no effort to alter the CIA's role as the president's private army, even as we have increased its incompetence by turning over many of its functions to the private sector." Excerpt from end of this article... More excerpts/condensed article below...

The Vast and Dangerous Transfer of American Spying to Mercenary Companies
By Chalmers Johnson

Posted on July 28, 2008

Alternet's note--

Chalmers Johnson has produced a superb new article on what privatization has meant to the U.S. Intelligence Community.

Focusing on Tim Shorrock's new book, Spies for Hire, Johnson traces the history of "the wholesale transfer of military and intelligence functions to private, often anonymous operatives" from Ronald Reagan's day to the present, reminding us of just how crucial the Clinton administration was to this development. He also lays out just what can happen when the intelligence budget soars and startling amounts of it are placed in private, for-profit hands. Not only, he claims, has the privatization of intelligence made it easier for enemies to penetrate American intelligence and greased the slippery slope to the loss of professionalism within the community of intelligence analysts, but, perhaps most serious of all, it has ensured the loss of the most valuable asset any intelligence organization possesses -- its institutional memory...


Most Americans have a rough idea what the term "military-industrial complex" means when they come across it in a newspaper or hear a politician mention it. President Dwight D. Eisenhower introduced the idea to the public in his farewell address of January 17, 1961. "Our military organization today bears little relation to that known by any of my predecessors in peacetime," he said, "or indeed by the fighting men of World War II and Korea We have been compelled to create a permanent armaments industry of vast proportions We must not fail to comprehend its grave implications We must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex."

Although Eisenhower's reference to the military-industrial complex is, by now, well-known, his warning against its "unwarranted influence" has, I believe, largely been ignored...

From its origins in the early 1940s, when President Franklin Delano Roosevelt was building up his "arsenal of democracy," down to the present moment, public opinion has usually assumed that it involved more or less equitable relations -- often termed a "partnership" -- between the high command and civilian overlords of the United States military and privately-owned, for-profit manufacturing and service enterprises. Unfortunately, the truth of the matter is that, from the time they first emerged, these relations were never equitable.

In the formative years of the military-industrial complex, the public still deeply distrusted privately owned industrial firms because of the way they had contributed to the Great Depression. Thus, the leading role in the newly emerging relationship was played by the official governmental sector. A deeply popular, charismatic president, FDR sponsored these public-private relationships. They gained further legitimacy because their purpose was to rearm the country, as well as allied nations around the world, against the gathering forces of fascism. The private sector was eager to go along with this largely as a way to regain public trust and disguise its wartime profit-making.

In the late 1930s and early 1940s, Roosevelt's use of public-private "partnerships" to build up the munitions industry, and thereby finally overcome the Great Depression, did not go entirely unchallenged. Although he was himself an implacable enemy of fascism, a few people thought that the president nonetheless was coming close to copying some of its key institutions. The leading Italian philosopher of fascism, the neo-Hegelian Giovanni Gentile, once argued that it should more appropriately be called "corporatism" because it was a merger of state and corporate power. (See Eugene Jarecki's The American Way of War, p. 69.)

Some critics were alarmed early on by the growing symbiotic relationship between government and corporate officials because each simultaneously sheltered and empowered the other, while greatly confusing the separation of powers. Since the activities of a corporation are less amenable to public or congressional scrutiny than those of a public institution, public-private collaborative relationships afford the private sector an added measure of security from such scrutiny. These concerns were ultimately swamped by enthusiasm for the war effort and the postwar era of prosperity that the war produced.

Beneath the surface, however, was a less well recognized movement by big business to replace democratic institutions with those representing the interests of capital. This movement is today ascendant...

Perhaps the country's leading theorist of democracy, Sheldon S. Wolin, has written a new book, Democracy Incorporated, on what he calls "inverted totalitarianism" -- the rise in the U.S. of totalitarian institutions of conformity and regimentation shorn of the police repression of the earlier German, Italian, and Soviet forms. He warns of "the expansion of private (i.e., mainly corporate) power and the selective abdication of governmental responsibility for the well-being of the citizenry." He also decries the degree to which the so-called privatization of governmental activities has insidiously undercut our democracy, leaving us with the widespread belief that government is no longer needed and that, in any case, it is not capable of performing the functions we have entrusted to it...

Mercenaries at Work

The military-industrial complex has changed radically since World War II or even the height of the Cold War. The private sector is now fully ascendant. The uniformed air, land, and naval forces of the country as well as its intelligence agencies, including the CIA (Central Intelligence Agency), the NSA (National Security Agency), the DIA (Defense Intelligence Agency), and even clandestine networks entrusted with the dangerous work of penetrating and spying on terrorist organizations are all dependent on hordes of "private contractors." ...

Tim Shorrock, an investigative journalist and the leading authority on this subject, sums up this situation devastatingly in his new book, Spies for Hire: The Secret World of Intelligence Outsourcing. The following quotes are a prcis of some of his key findings:

"In 2006 the cost of America's spying and surveillance activities outsourced to contractors reached $42 billion, or about 70 percent of the estimated $60 billion the government spends each year on foreign and domestic intelligence [The] number of contract employees now exceeds [the CIA's] full-time workforce of 17,500 Contractors make up more than half the workforce of the CIA's National Clandestine Service (formerly the Directorate of Operations), which conducts covert operations and recruits spies abroad

"To feed the NSA's insatiable demand for data and information technology, the industrial base of contractors seeking to do business with the agency grew from 144 companies in 2001 to more than 5,400 in 2006 At the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO), the agency in charge of launching and maintaining the nation's photoreconnaissance and eavesdropping satellites, almost the entire workforce is composed of contract employees working for [private] companies With an estimated $8 billion annual budget, the largest in the IC [intelligence community], contractors control about $7 billion worth of business at the NRO, giving the spy satellite industry the distinction of being the most privatized part of the intelligence community

"If there's one generalization to be made about the NSA's outsourced IT [information technology] programs, it is this: they haven't worked very well...

...Remarkably enough, SAIC has virtually replaced the National Security Agency as the primary collector of signals intelligence for the government. It is the NSA's largest contractor, and that agency is today the company's single largest customer.

There are literally thousands of other profit-making enterprises that work to supply the government with so-called intelligence needs, sometimes even bribing Congressmen to fund projects that no one in the executive branch actually wants. This was the case with Congressman Randy "Duke" Cunningham, Republican of California's 50th District, who, in 2006, was sentenced to eight-and-a-half years in federal prison for soliciting bribes from defense contractors. One of the bribers, Brent Wilkes, snagged a $9.7 million contract for his company, ADCS Inc. ("Automated Document Conversion Systems") to computerize the century-old records of the Panama Canal dig!...

...The Privatization -- and Loss -- of Institutional Memory

The end result is what we see today: a government hollowed out in terms of military and intelligence functions. The KBR Corporation, for example, supplies food, laundry, and other personal services to our troops in Iraq based on extremely lucrative no-bid contracts, while Blackwater Worldwide supplies security and analytical services to the CIA and the State Department in Baghdad. (Among other things, its armed mercenaries opened fire on, and killed, 17 unarmed civilians in Nisour Square, Baghdad, on September 16, 2007, without any provocation, according to U.S. military reports.) The costs -- both financial and personal -- of privatization in the armed services and the intelligence community far exceed any alleged savings, and some of the consequences for democratic governance may prove irreparable.

These consequences include: the sacrifice of professionalism within our intelligence services; the readiness of private contractors to engage in illegal activities without compunction and with impunity; the inability of Congress or citizens to carry out effective oversight of privately-managed intelligence activities because of the wall of secrecy that surrounds them; and, perhaps most serious of all, the loss of the most valuable asset any intelligence organization possesses -- its institutional memory.

Most of these consequences are obvious, even if almost never commented on by our politicians or paid much attention in the mainstream media. After all, the standards of a career CIA officer are very different from those of a corporate executive...

...The loss of such professionalism within the CIA was starkly revealed in the 2002 National Intelligence Estimate on Iraq's possession of weapons of mass destruction. It still seems astonishing that no senior official, beginning with Secretary of State Colin Powell, saw fit to resign when the true dimensions of our intelligence failure became clear, least of all Director of Central Intelligence George Tenet...

On November 14, 2002, the New York Times published a column by William Safire entitled "You Are a Suspect" in which he revealed that DARPA had been given a $200 million budget to compile dossiers on 300 million Americans. He wrote, "Every purchase you make with a credit card, every magazine subscription you buy and medical prescription you fill, every web site you visit and every e-mail you send or receive, every bank deposit you make, every trip you book, and every event you attend -- all these transactions and communications will go into what the Defense Department describes as a 'virtual centralized grand database.'" This struck many members of Congress as too close to the practices of the Gestapo and the Stasi under German totalitarianism, and so, the following year, they voted to defund the project.

However, Congress's action did not end the "total information awareness" program. The National Security Agency secretly decided to continue it through its private contractors. The NSA easily persuaded SAIC and Booz Allen Hamilton to carry on with what Congress had declared to be a violation of the privacy rights of the American public -- for a price. As far as we know, Admiral Poindexter's "Total Information Awareness Program" is still going strong today...

..."So many former intelligence officers joined the private sector [during the 1990s] that, by the turn of the century, the institutional memory of the United States intelligence community now resides in the private sector. That's pretty much where things stood on September 11, 2001." (p. 112)

This means that the CIA, the DIA, the NSA, and the other 13 agencies in the U.S. intelligence community cannot easily be reformed because their staffs have largely forgotten what they are supposed to do, or how to go about it. They have not been drilled and disciplined in the techniques, unexpected outcomes, and know-how of previous projects, successful and failed.

As numerous studies have, by now, made clear, the abject failure of the American occupation of Iraq came about in significant measure because the Department of Defense sent a remarkably privatized military filled with incompetent amateurs to Baghdad to administer the running of a defeated country. Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates (a former director of the CIA) has repeatedly warned that the United States is turning over far too many functions to the military because of its hollowing out of the Department of State and the Agency for International Development since the end of the Cold War. Gates believes that we are witnessing a "creeping militarization" of foreign policy -- and, though this generally goes unsaid, both the military and the intelligence services have turned over far too many of their tasks to private companies and mercenaries.

When even Robert Gates begins to sound like President Eisenhower, it is time for ordinary citizens to pay attention. In my 2006 book Nemesis: The Last Days of the American Republic, with an eye to bringing the imperial presidency under some modest control, I advocated that we Americans abolish the CIA altogether, along with other dangerous and redundant agencies in our alphabet soup of sixteen secret intelligence agencies, and replace them with the State Department's professional staff devoted to collecting and analyzing foreign intelligence. I still hold that position.

Nonetheless, the current situation represents the worst of all possible worlds. Successive administrations and Congresses have made no effort to alter the CIA's role as the president's private army, even as we have increased its incompetence by turning over many of its functions to the private sector. We have thereby heightened the risks of war by accident, or by presidential whim, as well as of surprise attack because our government is no longer capable of accurately assessing what is going on in the world and because its intelligence agencies are so open to pressure, penetration, and manipulation of every kind.

[Note to Readers: This essay focuses on the new book by Tim Shorrock, Spies for Hire: The Secret World of Intelligence Outsourcing, New York: Simon & Schuster, 2008.

Other books noted: Eugene Jarecki's The American Way of War: Guided Missiles, Misguided Men, and a Republic in Peril, New York: Free Press, 2008; Thomas Frank, The Wrecking Crew: How Conservatives Rule, New York: Metropolitan Books, 2008; Sheldon Wolin, Democracy Incorporated: Managed Democracy and the Specter of Inverted Totalitarianism, Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2008.]

Chalmers Johnson is the author of three linked books on the crises of American imperialism and militarism. They are Blowback (2000), The Sorrows of Empire (2004), and Nemesis: The Last Days of the American Republic (2006). All are available in paperback from Metropolitan Books.
© 2008 All rights reserved.

Find the complete story at Tom Dispatch dot com or at Alternet dot org

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Strategy on Impeachment, etc. What's Next?

By David Swanson from After Downing Street...

Your hard work has resulted in Congress cracking open the door to impeachment, justice, and peace. How can you keep it open?

A lot of us have our own favorite impeachable offenses - mine is the Iraq war - but a lot of them are not about to go anywhere in Congress. The impeachable offenses that appear to have the most traction among congress members (i.e. very little) are:

1. The numerous violations of laws combined with the announcement of the intention to violate those laws through signing statements. (I say it in this longwinded way, because just abbreviating it to "signing statements" allows people to pretend to miss the point.)

2. The numerous refusals to comply with requests, subpoenas, and contempt citations.

It has always been predictable, and predicted, that these would have the most traction (because nonpartisan, non-controversial, no congressional complicity, no investigation needed, clearcut and simple), and it has become clear that - as predicted - they DO in fact have the most traction.

...What is needed is pressure on every member of Congress to themselves pressure Conyers, including by signing Wexler's letter at So, please call your Representative every day at (202) 224-3121, focus on the issues that have the most traction, and urge them to ask Conyers to hold a real impeachment hearing. Remember that in an impeachment hearing the excuse of "executive privilege" is not allowed. A subpoena must simply be obeyed or those who refuse to obey it can be impeached.

Of secondary value is trying to get your Representative to introduce new articles of impeachment or new resolutions calling for impeachment hearings. So, any lengthy communications with your Rep should include that ask.

The third most important thing to do is to contact media outlets and urge them to cover impeachment, and contact polling companies and urge them to poll on impeachment.

The fourth most important thing to do is to support pro-impeachment candidates for Congress and make certain the incumbents know about it. Don't just send a check. First send a photocopy of it to the incumbent letting them know why they aren't getting one. (yet--I add, Connie--including to Lt. Bev Perdue on both impeachment and torture for those in NC since she dearly wants to be gov. )

Now is the time to move on this with everything we've got. We've opened the door and must not allow it to close again.


EXTENSIVE Articles of Impeachment are now pending in Congress, more than anyone ever expected, 39 all together, 333-3, 1258-35, and 1345-1, all presented to Congress by a resolute Rep Dennis Kucinich, and the inquiring Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, Rep John Conyers, has now held his first EXTENSIVE Hearing, more than anyone ever expected, lasting nearly six hours, on the potential and probable abuses of executive power by the Bush administration.

Democratic Members of the Judiciary Committee made probing statements and asked crucial questions, and distinguished and learned witnesses gave their expert testimony.

Some Committee Members were even dosing off (a brief power nap) and some Republican Members didn't bother to show up, and those that came didn't stay for the finale.

The delectable Table is now set for Congress to sit down and feast on this 39 course meal. There is something on the table for everyone, even those on a diet.

WE can only hope and even pray for them that this 110th Democratic Congress shows up for dinner.
COMMENTS continue...

Open Letter to my Congressman
Submitted by lonevet2008joe on Sun, 2008-07-27 17:44.

Dear Congressman Blumenauer

Thank you for voting against FISA (expansion--my add, Connie).

We have been outside your office for 1 year. This Thursday we will gather again to protest your refusal to work for the impeachment. Our group called Individuals for Justice will remain and expand our protest until you actively call for the impeachment of the President, Vice President and any member of his administration who has violated the Constitution including Art. V1 which states:

“This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the Supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding.”

The Geneva Convention is part of our Supreme Law and there is no doubt that the Bush Administration has violated the articles dealing with torture and how to treat civilian population under our occupation of Iraq. Even the International Red Cross has told the CIA and the Bush Administration that we are engaging in war crimes.

It is not enough to say you were and are against the invasion of Iraq, you must do all in your power to stop this madness from continuing. The funding of the war has now been put off until next spring, there is only one option left for you, submit your own bill of Impeachment Now.

We need you in our corner, we want to tell our children/grandchildren that our Representative stood against tyranny and did everything possible to stop the war mentality that seems to pervade Washington, DC.

We have asked several times to meet with you, to offer our time and effort in the above matter. We will listen and present our petition to you in person. We wait for your response.

Very Sincerely,
Joe Walsh--Lone Vet
Individuals for Justice
Portland, Oregon

Submitted by Thomas O. Anderson on Sun, 2008-07-27 15:27.

One thing is egregiously clear. If the Judiciary Committee fails to act in a timely manner on this mountain of passionate testimony concerning violations of the highest order, then the Judiciary Committee itself should be prosecuted for abetting MURDER.

Debbie W. Schultz TACKLES Abusive Signing Statements
Submitted by LanceCiepiela on Sun, 2008-07-27 17:05.

Rep Debbie Wasserman Schultz, when she came to Congress was not even familiar with signing statements, as she stated, NOW TACKLES the extensive (nearly 1,100 so far) and abusive use of signing statements by the President Link

Kucinich-Article XXVII Failure to Comply With Subpoenas
Submitted by LanceCiepiela on Sun, 2008-07-27 17:38.

A thorough Rep Dennis Kucinich presented to Congress his Impeachment "Article XXVII FAILING TO COMPLY WITH CONGRESSIONAL SUBPOENAS AND INSTRUCTING FORMER EMPLOYEES NOT TO COMPLY-In his conduct while President of the United States, George W. Bush, in violation of his constitutional oath to faithfully execute the office of President of the United States and, to the best of his ability, preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States, and in violation of his constitutional duty under Article II, Section 3 of the Constitution "to take care that the laws be faithfully executed", has both personally and acting through his agents and subordinates, refused to comply with
Congressional subpoenas, and instructed former employees not to comply with subpoenas.

Subpoenas not complied with include:
1. A House Judiciary Committee subpoena for Justice Department papers and Emails, issued April 10, 2007;
2. A House Oversight and Government Reform Committee subpoena for the testimony of the
Secretary of State, issued April 25, 2007;
3. A House Judiciary Committee subpoena for the testimony of former White House Counsel
Harriet Miers and documents , issued June 13, 2007;
4. A Senate Judiciary Committee subpoena for documents and testimony of White House Chief of Staff Joshua Bolten, issued June 13, 2007;
5. A Senate Judiciary Committee subpoena for documents and testimony of White House Political Director Sara Taylor, issued June 13, 2007 (Taylor appeared but refused to answer questions);
6. A Senate Judiciary Committee subpoena for documents and testimony of White House Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove, issued June 26, 2007;
7. A Senate Judiciary Committee subpoena for documents and testimony of White House Deputy Political Director J. Scott Jennings, issued June 26, 2007 (Jennings appeared but refused to
answer questions);
8. A Senate Judiciary Committee subpoena for legal analysis and other documents concerning the NSA warrantless wiretapping program from the White House, Vice President Richard Cheney, The Department of Justice, and the National Security Council. If the documents are not produced, the subpoena requires the testimony of White House chief of staff Josh Bolten, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, Cheney chief of staff David Addington, National Security Council executive director V. Philip Lago, issued June 27, 2007;
9. A House Oversight and Government Reform Committee subpoena for Lt. General Kensinger.

In all of these actions and decisions, President George W. Bush has acted in a manner contrary to his trust as President, and subversive of constitutional government, to the prejudice of the cause of law........"

BY not complying with Congressional subpeonas the Bush administration is effectively telling the American people, forget about this, you, the American people, are not allowed to have this information, it's our secret and it's going to stay our secret, and we're NOT GOING TO GIVE IT TO YOU NOW OR EVER. Take that to the bank or lump it, it's YOUR CHOICE. Now get lost. We're running things here in the White House, and that's final.

Only scoundrels in the Bush administration, not worthy to serve, would presume to deny the American people and their representatives in Congress their just DUE.

I agree with narrowing our focus: Time for Plame
Submitted by dikyzr on Sun, 2008-07-27 20:09.

1) The war is the moral option but it's too unwieldy and too many Democrats are complicit.

2) Signing statements is not properly focused enough and Americans will fall asleep through the process.

3) Subpoenas are clear enough and have a simplicity Americans can understand, or

4) Outing a secret agent. Nicely focused, easy to understand, many facts in place, sexy (for those who need this), tied to subpoena avoidance.

I choose option FOUR!
...and start with impeachmeant of Dick Cheney...
Submitted by Ephemera on Sun, 2008-07-27 21:07.

I've believed for a long time that impeaching Cheney would be the key to bringing this criminal administration down. I think the evidence in the Plame case is strong, and my gut instincts tell me that once an investigator started peeling away the scab over these lies, all the ugly pus that is the Cheney/Bush legacy would start to leak out.

Cheney is the type of guy.......
Submitted by Johnathan Douglas on Sun, 2008-07-27 21:22.

Who would be perfectly happy to instigate everything and then turn states evidence against everyone else. Maybe congress should plead out and make themselves a deal before cheney beats them to it.

They are all weasles who would sell out their own grandmother for a nickle..... start using that to your advantage......

Submitted by rhodaozen on Sun, 2008-07-27 21:31.

If there was no Torture prior to their self-admitted events, then why was there an Executive Order from 20 July 2007 released? This allowed bush to give US Intelligence Officials the Right to reinterpret Article 3 of Geneva as applied to Section 2441, under Title 18 in reference to TORTURE????
What occured prior to this date? Everything is signed by the MURDERER.
Section 2441(d) of Title 18USC
can't understand the rest of that link sorry.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

HJC Hearing Sum-up Items

C-Span has video links on homepage to Panel 1 and Panel 2. Let's hope they also replay the events over television...

In this hearing we heard the case for impeachment from Kucinich, Wexler, Jackson-Lee, Johnson, Baldwin, Ellison, Hinchey, Holtzman, Anderson, Adams, and even Barr. We heard general support in that direction from Scott, Lofgren, and even Nadler (almost). And we heard Pence's and Franks' laughable and inculpating defenses along the lines of "Bush is not a crook." Not bad for the first day's work of the 110th Congress! Now, how about an impeachment hearing? We saw a lot of interest from committee members in the offense of signing statements, and also in the refusal to comply with subpoenas. Those are the issues that seem to have the most traction --and the least congressional complicity.

Find plenty more including hundreds of comments--one from Wexler--plenty of other leaders comment -- at least 1/2 dozen videos at After Downing Street dot org...
Go also to Anti-War, Veterans for Peace websites national and active states, Kucinich House campaign sites, Democracy Now! etc...

Listen out for the Veterans' Voices on Asheville's independent radio this Wednesday, archived for a week....

Let us know what you hear & read...

Friday, July 25, 2008

More on Friday's Hearing

Hundreds gather for imperial presidency hearing at Raw Story...

Also see video and more at After Downing Street dot org...

See also the comments at -The Nation- on this topic

A surprise--two from NC including one Republican : "The witnesses listed, in addition to Kucinich, included Reps. Maurice D. Hinchey , D-N.Y.; Walter B. Jones , R-N.C.; and Brad Miller , D-N.C.; former Rep. Bob Barr, R-Ga. (1995-2003), who now is running for president as a Libertarian; former Rep. Elizabeth Holtzman, D-N.Y. (1973-81); and several law professors."

Cindy at the HJC Hearings in DC Today Friday July 25

Statement from Cindy Sheehan, independent candidate for U.S. Congress, on the Non-Impeachment Impeachment Hearings of the House Judiciary Committee in Washington, DC

(Friday, July 25, 2008 -- 2 p.m. EST)

I got up at 6:30 a.m. this morning so that I could get into the hearings of the House Judiciary Committee in Washington, D.C. -- and I sat through the hearings. I think they should have been real impeachment hearings and not sham hearings about the abuse of executive power.

Still, I recognize it was a baby step in the right direction -- and I think that our Cindy Sheehan For Congress candidacy in San Francisco was the tipping point that pushed Nancy Pelosi to say that hearings could happen.

A lot of good information was presented at the hearings, and some very strong, very incredible witnesses testified. Toward the end, when Vince Bugliosi stated before the Committee that there should be justice for the more than 4,000 U.S. soldiers killed in Iraq, I stood up and stated loudly, "Thank you" to Mr. Bugliosi -- as my son Casey was one of those soldiers who died because of lies and deception by George Bush and Dick Cheney.

Immediately, Committee Chairman John Conyers told the audience that his colleagues were urging him to take action. I then said loudly, "I urge you all to take action." That is when Chairman Conyers kicked me out of the hearings.

Yes. We need real impeachment hearings. We need Congress to take action against Bush, Cheney and all those in the administration who lied, abused their power, and violated the precious rights enshrined in our Constitution.

Elliott Adams' Testimony to House Judiciary Committee

Elliott Adams' Testimony to House Judiciary Committee
Submitted by davidswanson on Fri, 2008-07-25 03:35.

Statement of Elliott Adams, Descendant of revolutionary Sam Adams
President of the Board, Veterans For Peace
House Judiciary Committee hearing

"Executive Power and Its Constitutional Limitations"

July 25, 2008

Upon leaving the Constitutional Convention of 1787 –
Ben Franklin was asked: “Well, Doctor, what have we got—a Republic or a Monarchy?”
Dr. Franklin replied: “A Republic, if you can keep it.”

Honorable Representatives, in that single sentence is the essence of what this hearing is about today – "if you can keep it." Right now hanging in the balance, in one pan is our republic and all the principles that made the United State a shining beacon of freedom around the world and in the other pan is a totalitarian state and all the despotism that it brings.

In the armed forces we took an oath, the same oath congressmen take, "to support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic." Now as veterans we still take oath very seriously. Which is why we are here on the Hill some of us gray haired and getting long in the tooth, but still defending the Constitution.

Veterans For Peace has members from every war our country has fought back to and including World War II. VFP is 23 years old, has over 120 chapters spread around the country, has an NGO seat in the UN, and a small share in the 1997 Nobel Peace Prize. Our members help 85,000 Iraqis get safe drinking water, gave 54,000 free phone cards to patients in 148 VA hospitals, help Agent Orange victims both US soldiers and Vietnamese civilians, aided Hurricane Katrina victims, supports schools and orphanages in Afghanistan & Vietnam, have worked extensively in Central American for freedom and fair elections, and bought appropriate body armor for soldiers in Iraq when the government could not supply it.

But many of our members have set aside all these other important works to defend our democracy by calling for impeachment.

There can be no question about whether criminal offenses have been committed by officials of this administration. The only question now is, what, if anything, each member of Congress is going to do about it.

There are those who say, "oh heck, there are only a few months left, just let them finish their terms, and then we can get on with our lives like waking from a bad dream." But we cannot afford that luxury. This is not about impeaching a few administration officials. This is about maintaining the structure of our government. This is about protecting the Geneva Conventions, the Nuremberg Principles, and the Law of Land Warfare. This is about defending the rights and freedoms of the US citizens.

This brings to mind the words of Ben Franklin "Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither and lose both."

The officials of this administration have usurped power from congress, stolen the rights of the people, and by ignoring it Congress reinforces it and joins it. All future presidents of both parties will start where this presidency leaves off. For Congress to continue to allow the usurpation of power and the flagrant violations of the Constitution to go unanswered would, in itself, be a violation of the law.

While there is no need for re-enumerating the long lists of impeachable offenses committed by officials of this administration, I can not escape the visceral pain and indignation that we, who served our country in combat, feel when we find our own government condoning and/or committing war crimes and/or crimes against humanity.

I cannot believe that members of our government are trying to obscure and distort what is torture and what is not torture. What is human has not changed in the past 8 years. What is torture has not changed in the past 8 year. The saddest thing to me about the torture discussion is that it has obscured the central point that, except in the movies, torture does not work. We were taught, in the Army, do not torture, not only because it is illegal, but especially because it ruins the integrity of the information you gather. Simply put, any victim of torture will eventually just try to say what ever the torturer wants them to say. Put another way it is the very power of torture that keeps it from giving us the truth.

As Congressmen you have available to you some of the greatest constitutional minds. But I learned in war that sometimes too much information can make it hard to see the essence. With your permission I will highlight a few salient points.

Without impeachment, requests and subpoenas and contempt citations are ignored (Congress has been mocked by an administration that has repeatedly ignored its subpoenas with impunity).

With impeachment, witnesses are freer to speak, "executive privilege" is gone, and subpoenas must be complied with.

The Constitution discusses impeachment in six places and never once mentions other remedies like censure, criminal referrals, legislative "solutions", or even prosecution (except to indicate it can occur separate from impeachment). The drafters of the constitution incorporated impeachment as the simple and proper process for dealing with all high crimes and even misdemeanors.

Without impeachment there looms the specter of an audacious broad sweeping self-serving pardon, even one that includes, a constitutionally dubious, but not explicitly forbidden, self-pardon! Which would further erode Congress' place in the balance of power rendering it virtually irrelevant. The only thing a president cannot pardon is an impeachment and a conviction in the Senate. But once removed from office, he can pardon nobody of anything.

For us veterans, when our time came, we volunteered our very lives for this republic; for the principle of freedom for all, for equal opportunity for all, to defend the Constitution and the principles embodied in the Declaration of Independence, and to guarantee the opportunity for life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Now, Congressmen, it is your time, and I hear there is not enough time! Now is your time, and I hear it will not be good for one party or the other party! Now is your time, and I hear there is not enough political will around you!

When our founding fathers signed the Declaration of Independence they were not worried about political will, or how much time there was, or about any parties' political future, they were just worried they were going to be hanged by the neck. But they did what was right. Now it is your time to standup.

Einstein said – "The world is a dangerous place, not because of those who do evil, but because of those who look on and do nothing."

Live Blogging Hearing on Impeachment (Not Yet Impeachment Hearing)

Submitted by davidswanson on Fri, 2008-07-25

In this hearing we heard the case for impeachment from Kucinich, Wexler, Jackson-Lee, Johnson, Baldwin, Ellison, Hinchey, Holtzman, Anderson, Adams, and even Barr. We heard general support in that direction from Scott, Lofgren, and even Nadler (almost). And we heard Pence and Franks laughable and inculpating defenses along the lines of "Bush is not a crook." Not bad for the first day's work of the 110th Congress! Now, how about an impeachment hearing? We saw a lot of interest from committee members in the offense of signing statements, and also in the refusal to comply with subpoenas. Those are the issues that seem to have the most traction (and the least congressional complicity).

4:10 Nadler points out that whereas evidence was nonexistant or disputed, Bush asserted repeatedly that it was absolutely certain. Lundgren claims that Bush based that on the wisdom of intelligence agencies around the world [sic!]. [Even if that were true, isn't it a problem that US intelligence was full of doubts and major counter-evidence?]

4:05 Lundgren claims Bush meant well. Nadler asks about evidence on edited NIE presented today. Lundgren dismisses it. Audience laughs. Lundgren asks for people to be removed. Conyers says that if anyone causes a disruption at the end of the hearing they will be forbidden to attend any more hearings.

3:58: Ellison is trying again to get Presser to agree there are grounds for impeachment on the matter of war lies. He agrees, only if Kucinich's case is "proved." Ellison asks Radkin too, but he pulls out the "they meant well and sadly turned out to be wrong, which is different from intentionally lying." I'd like Kucinich to make the overwhelming case that Bugliosi has been making that they knowingly lied, but he instead makes the reasonable case that if all the assertions turn out to be false that is sufficient grounds for an impeachment inquiry.

3:55: Ellison is giving Kucinich another opportunity to speak about his article of impeachment on war lies, which he is doing at some length. Lundgren is the only Republican member still here. Conyers, Nadler, Scott, Lofgren, and Baldwin are here, and everyone is awake.

3:54 After Fein suggests a law banning use of funds for anything signing statemented, Ellison asks why the president couldn't just signing statement that new law. Fein had no answer.

3:45 Red Debbie Wasserman-Schultz is here for first time and expressing concern of some sort about signing statements.

3:38 Rep Schiff wants a new Church Committee to last into the next Congress, and he wants to White House to notify the Congress in a timely manner when it is about to violate laws. (I do hope I am hallucinating now.) Schwartz points out that there is already a law requiring that the president notify Congress when he will use a signing statement to claim the right to violate a law, but Bush has used a signing statement to erase the requirement that he notify Congress about signing statements. Schwartz points out also that we should have no secret laws whatsoever.

3:34 Baldwin raises danger of leaving Bush and Cheney unchecked for seven more months, in particular the possibility of an attack on Iran. What impact would an impeachment inquiry have on the possibility of attacking Iran? Anderson: wants a bill passed! (???) Bugliosi refuses to speculate.

3:30 Baldwin is bringing up John Nichols' book and the Bill Moyers show he was on with Fein. She's quoting Nichols account of presidential toolbox passing from president to president. And the toolbox now has more powers in it than ever before.

Lundgren is asleep now.

3:25 pm Rep Brad Sherman shows up for first time and says Congress has become mere advisors to White House. President won't obey laws. Any law to fix the problem will be vetoed. To Fein: is nonfeasance an impeachable offense? Fein: the "take care that laws are faithfully executed" comes from English Bill of Rights ... meaning Yes. Sherman is talking about signing statements. Sherman asks Holtzman if a prosecutor should bring a case if virtually certain of not getting a conviction? She says maybe.

Kucinich has gone out and come back with what is probably a stack of petition signatures in support of impeachment. Ellison is talking with Kucinich.

3:19 p.m. Rep Hank Johnson asks Presser about his testimony back in the day that if Clinton lied he should be impeached: if a president lied about taking a nation into war, would that be an impeachable offense? Presser says "you'd have to look into the circumstances...." Johnson turns to Holtzman, which is much more productive.

Nadler and Scott are both sleeping. No joke.

3:13 Rep Cohen asks Holtzman about what branch Cheney belongs to. Fein points out that a Senator has been impeached, so Cheney can claim he's in the legislative branch and be impeached. Cohen asks Fein whether it would be socially beneficial to impeach, or more important to do other things as Rep Watt advises. Fein says that impeaching Nixon was greatly unifying. He also says that there is penty of time since no investigation is needed. The president has confessed to viiolating FISA (witnesses are now routinely accusing the president of crimes and calling him "the president" against the rules).

3:03 Rep. Wexler says that ignoring subpoenas, spying, and torture, are - pace Pence - not "mere policy differences". Wexler expands on the subpoenas topic. Barr has left. Wexler wanted to ask him about statements he made in support of the rule of law during the Clinton impeachment. (Wexler may have been out of the room today when Barr came around in support of impeachment.) Rocky Anderson says Wexler is right, that we're not just talking about policy, but about Constitutional issues. Now, says Rocky, is the time for Congress to assert its power. Wexler now asks Fein about Mukasey coming before the committee and refusing to honor subpoenas. Fein says that's a clear impeachable offense on its own. Popular government can't work if the public can't know what its government is doing. You don't need an investigation to impeach: you just vote. [Go, Bruce!] Liz Holtzman adds that the president [OOPS, WHO? Can you say that?] has refused to give Congress what it needs to do its job and obstructs the work of Congress. She recommends holding an impeachment inquiry, requesting the information again, and if it is not provided then impeaching.

NOTE: Pacifica is terminating its broadcast, but we all appreciate them carrying the hearing up to this point.

3:02 Rep. Pence appears to be filibustering on his opposition to impeachment, chewing up time for no apparent purpose, asking three-minute questions that get three-word responses because they are just obvious rants.

2:53 p.m. One of the Repubicans tried to cut Bugliosi off by claiming he was discussing classified information. (He was discussing the declassified 2002 NIE.) The groans from the audience shut him up. Nobody said a thing about the groaning. Bugliosi was permitted to keep speaking.

2:43 Sheila Jackson-Lee (I kid you not) is urging passage of a bill to correct the abuse of signing statements (who spots the weakness in this strategy?). But she's now asking Fein to speak on war lies, and she's suggesting it's treason. And now she's giving Bugliosi a chance to expand on his case (the familiar case in his book, which many in this room have never heard).

2:36 At request of a Republican Conyers asks staff to remove signs. Staff is asking vets to remove buttons.

Tarak Kauff shouts that it's a disgrace when Bush is responsible for so many murders to demand that vets take off buttons. He's hauled out by police.

TJ Buomo refuses to take off his button, shouts out his 1st Amendment right and is hauled out by police.

Lori Arbeiter also refused to comply and was hauled out.

Liz Cater spoke up and tried to go help Lori and was threatened with removal until a bunch of us shouted that she'd done nothing, and the police backed off and she sat down.

2:26 Lofgren is still pushing idea of a truth and reconciliation commission. And Schwartz is recommending the 9-11 Commission as a model [I may be tired but I'm not hallucinating this.]

2:25 OK I've covered up my IMPEACH shirt because a friend thinks they'll try to arrest me for wearing it.

2:16 Republican Rep. Louis Gohmert: The president is not a crook, really! And: Never trust a Muslim!

2:10 The Judiciary Committee staff is begging me to cover up my IMPEACH shirt, and I'm refusing.

2:08 Rep Mel Watt here now for first time today. He said "If attorneys general are protecting me against terrorists, who is protecting me against THEM?" [Loud applause.] He then refuses to support impeachment. [silence] Did Pelosi send Watt here??

2:02 Franks has interrupted this hearing on the abuses of Bush and Cheney to let us know that we should all be VERY VERY AFRAID of Muslim terrorists. Then Franks says that if there was a failure, it was in allowing 9-11 to occur. [Wow, it's almost as if he's read Kucinich's article of impeachment on that very point. Yes, I'm kidding. He wouldn't ever have done that.]

1:49 Bobby Scott: Are we necessarily talking about impeachment or something other than impeachment or must it be impeachment, what other tool do we have to enforce limitations on executive power? Fein says that under Nixon when he was in Justice Dept they concluded you could not prosecute a president while in office, and concluded that impeachment was the only remedy for an abusive president. Barr added that Congress can pass laws. Holtzman said that doesn't matter if president is not bound to obey the laws, and that the real remedy is impeachment -- there's no running away from that. Bugliosi added that president can be prosecuted from the day he leaves office.

1:46 Congressman Kucinich has never left the room and is still sitting in the front row. People are still coming in -- all of them impeachment activists -- whenever a seat opens up.

1:42 King is still talking about shopping for uranium. Essentially his case amounts to "Yoo Hoo, Look way over here away from the Constitution. I'm making a giant ass of myself! Look Look!" See evidence re uranium lies HERE.

1:37 Nadler suggests impeachment is virtually impossible because conviction requires support of president's party. Holtzman says that impeachment can be bipartisan, as in fact it was with Nixon. But the Democrats led in the beginning and did not do a headcount before proceeding. The process was made completely fair. Southern Democats and Republicans joined in because it was fair to parties and fair to the president. And when we started nobody thought it would work. It did.

1:32 Nadler questions Schwartz assertion that impeachment is not practical. But prosecution faces possible block by pardons. Do we need to change pardon clause of the Constitution? [IS HE SERIOUS? Amend the Constitution to explicity bar the outrageous absurdity of self-pardoning??] Fein jumps in to say that a statute could require that pardons occur 8 months before leaving office, therby creating political penalty for abuse of the power.

1:30 Nadler suggests that even though executive privilege should not apply in an impeachment hearing, Bush might STILL assert it. Fein replies that remedy wold be an article of impeachment, as with Nixon.

1:28 Nadler tears down rightwing strawman that impeachment is about using presidency for personal gain, it's about abuse of power! If the Pres lied to Congres, and I think there's good evidence he did [Nadler just violated the HOLY RULE against calling the king a liar], it's impeachable. This prez claims right to call anyone in this room an enemy combatant and lock them up forever. This has never happened since Magna Carta in English-speaking countries. They torture. they don't prosecute their own crimes. There's no remedy by the executive branch! We've got to figure a way around this. [HOW ABOUT IMPEACHMENT?]

1:18 Lamar Smith citing fact that most people have discussed impeachment in this non-impeachment hearing. Presser claims Clinton impeachment had nothing to do with lying about sex, and that he has heard nothing today to suggest impeachable offenses. [YES! More "I am not a crook" discussion from the Republicans.] Radkin joining in: "He did not lie us into a war." Plus: "Lots of other presidents have lied us into wars too!" [Derrida called this kettle logic: I didn't break your kettle, it was broken when I borrowed it, they always break, and I never borrowed it at all.]

1:18 Q and A beginning.

Elliott Adams: he joked and passed on commenting.

Schwartz: Abuses of this president are unique. He claims the right to break any law and to do so secretly. This doctrine needs to be "squashed, disagreed with, and exposed." [HOW ABOUT IMPEACHED?]

Vincent Bugliosi beautifully challenges Presser's contention that a lie about sex is worse than a lie about war. Now Bugliosi is citing the WHITE HOUSE MEMO. Cindy Sheehan shouted out "Thank you, Vince!" Conyers said that his colleagues were urging him to take action. Cindy said "I urge YOU to take action!" Conyers said, "Well then, Sheehan you're out." Cindy left. Other impeachment advocates immediately came in to fill her seat and those of people who left with her.

Bruce Fein: Executive ONLY has powers we the people give him. Do all presidents spy during wars? No, and this is worse because this war is permanent. Robert Jackson at Nuremburg says that an abusive power unrebuked will lie around like a loaded weapon.

Stephen Presser: right to hold this hearing, but there is no evidence of fraudulent motives, and minority report of this committee shows that the admin has cooperated and acted in good faith.

Rocky Anderson: impeachment appropriate now, including for fraud in taking us into war by the pres... oops I mean hight ranking official of the administration.

Bob Barr: Our bill of rights is vanishing. He holds up and displys the Bill of Rights with most of it blacked out. He submits it into the record. Not my job to choose impeachment, but if choice is constitutional inquiry or silence, I choose inquiry. [One rightwinger won over already today!]

Liz H: Admin will never prosecute itself. Truth Commission won't work. Only impeachment is practical and possible. It eliminates executive privilege. Somebody get this bit onto Youtube ASAP!

12:58 Conyers letting each panelist add something in response to other panelists.


12:53 Elliott Adams' excellent testimony. He's reading it now!

12:48 Fred Schwartz opposes impeachment as too late (as if he ever lifted a finger for it) but wants a big whopping "investigation" (which of course actually does take time, unlike impeaching Bush and Cheney on the grounds established today and over the past years).

12:44: A staffer is trying to get me to cover up my IMPEACH shirt and I'm refusing.

12:41 Rightwing minority witness Jeremy Radkin says war lies is clearly most important charge, but claims its "wild conspiracy charges." And, so, all other charges should be ignored as less important, and then this charge should be ignored as crazy.

12:34 Bugliosi is giving abbreviated version of his usual powerful rap on Bush lying us into war. AND he's calling for referral of criminal charges to the Justice Department (are you kidding me, Vince? you were going to advocate impeachment, not futility). Great rhetoric, though. [Strong applause results in Republican call to clear the room and Conyers refusal but repeated admonition.

12:32 Conyers is introducing Vince Bugliosi, holding up his book "The Prosecution of George W. Bush for murder."

12:25 Bruce Fein is now reading his excellent statement, posted earlier on this website.

12:20 p.m. Rightwing lawyer Stephen Presser making case that his brain has been absent from the room for the past couple of hours AND that Bill Clinton was a president who really merited impeachment. He claims that stating a theory about "unitary executive" is not an impeachable offense, but he's the first today to have suggested that.

Note: more citizens (all for impeachment) are gradually filling in more seats as staffers grow tired and hungry.

Go below and also keep watching for new posts here...See Elliot Adams Statement above...

Live Blogging Hearing on Impeachment (Not Yet Impeachment Hearing)

Live Blogging Hearing on Impeachment (Not Yet Impeachment Hearing)
Submitted by david swanson on Fri, 2008-07-25 ONGOING...check out After Downing Street for much more... WATCH C-SPAN if at all possible now--today...May be repeated over weekend and best scenario, also on Monday for the many legislators and public who would otherwise miss everything. Please press C-Span to repeat this coverage as many days as possible. Check out blog just below for more related items, including contact info for C-Span.

12:13 Rocky Anderson wants investigation (as if we don't already know the crimes and haven't just heard about them for hours). He wants to know about the spying program. [Fine, but we know, as he says, that it's felonious. So is it appropriate to "investigate" with no subpoena power or to impeach?] "There has never been a more compelling case for impeachment!" [NOW YOU'RE TALKING!!] Rocky goes on to support legislation delegitimizing signign statements (as if that were possible). He wants legislation (which would be vetoed) to criminalize an illegal attack on Iran [I kid you not].

12:10 Bob Barr going on about wide variety of grave abuses, but not so much what to do about them.

11:58 Liz Holtzman gives prima facie grounds for impeachment: systematic refusal to obey the laws, spying, torture, signing statements, misuse of executive privilege, war lies, etc... we need an impeachment inquiry to educate the public and give members of administration facing accusations a forum in which to respond.


11:49 Republican Rep. Walter Jones, in response to signing-statement announcements of intention to violate laws, wants the public to have easy access to the signing statements and Congress to have the right to ask the White House about its criminal announcements. [Now, how does this make more sense than renaming french fries? Well, at least it points to the problem and misses the solution so wildly that even a reporter could see it.] He wants his bill passed now (as if it wouldn't be vetoed!!).

11:45 Rep. Brad Miller discussing various abuses and various so-called legislative remedies.

11:30 Rep Maurice Hinchey: president dominates entire government. He focuses on "corruption and incompetance". [Huh? what about criminality and murder?] [He's going over all the old material in way too conservative a manner and putting me to sleep.] This is th emost impeachable administration in the history of America. [Hello! I'm awake!]

11:25 Kucinich has a written statement (Can somebody get a copy?) and focuses on destructive nature of Iraq war, including impact on US economy. Statements made to justify war were false. Congress members believed the lies. Rules of House prevent me using familiar terms. (DK introduces his three resolutions for impeachment into the record and asks that members read them.) Should we honor our oaths to support and defend the Constitution? Will Congress endorse with its silence the methods used to take us into the Iraq war, one of the greatest injustices imaginable? Act now! Right a very great wrong! Hold accountable those who misled this nation! [DK spoke less than 5 minutes and avoided the I word.]


11:20 Keith Ellison has written statement (Can somebody get a copy?). Congress needs to maintain its power. Impeachment is only way to do it. [Yeah!]

11:15 Rep Tammy Baldwin submitting a written statement (Can somebody get a copy?) This is about the conduct of future presidents for generations. This is not frivolous, but no task more important than to consider whether our leaders have violated their oaths of office. Public expects no less. After all, it is their Constitution. American people and nations around the world wonder whether US is going to illegally attack Iran, whether their conversations are wiretaped, whether people are being held in sectre prisons, who authorized torture. But attempt to investigate are blocked. List of ignored subpoenas is long. True accountability is impossible. In my judgment at least two high ranking administration officials have met the standard for impeachment [meaning Bush and Cheney] - I now firmly believe we must begin impeachment hearings.

11:08 Rep Hank Johnson: action must be taken.. prevailing view has been that impeachment should be off the table...and public would not approve, but impeachment would restore life and vitality to the system of checks and balances that is the hallmark of our system of government [yeah !] if lying about consensual sexual activity fits the bill, then surely lying to the American people about the invasion of Iraq, a sovereign nation, resulting in countless Iraqi deaths, 4,000 Americans, surely that qualifies as an impeachable offense [brief loud applause]. Kidnapping, detaining, torturing, selective prosecutions, etc, etc. Should consider impeaching. [Conyers again says not to clap.]

11:06 Rep Steve Cohen, freshman from Memphis: recounts Gonzales resigning as he and Bruce Fein were drafting articles of impeachment for him. Supports this hearing.

11:02 Trent Franks just said the word Impeachment repeatedly, requesting that the word never be mentioned. Then said Terrorist, Terrorism, and Terror many many times.

10:57 Rep Sheila Jackson-Lee quoting preamble to the Constitution and defending the importance of taking up impeachment hearings, without predicting the outcome. She is concerned about war lies, torture, possibility of treason, firing of US attorneys, signing statements (and she has legislation [I kid you not!] to address that abuse).

10:51 Republican Rep Pence wants to be sure this is not about impeachment and at the same time wants to argue against impeachment. [The Republicans are putting impeachment on the table AND making themselves look like McCain-style senile fools. Pence is arguing that Bush has not done things he's publicly on record confessing to, thus opening the door to the corporate media to cover these issues - if they dare.] "There have been no high crimes and misdemeanors!" ["I am not a crook!"]

10:50 Rep Jerrold Nadler saying the offenses now are far more serious than what Clinton was impeached for.

10:45 Republican Rep Dan Lundgren is disappointed. This is impeachment light. The allegations without real impeachment. [Exactly.]

10:43 Rep Zoe Lofgren urging further investigations like today's.

10:41 Conyers says it's not an impeachment hearing, and that that could only follow a vote in the full house [of which we have ALREADY HAD THREE SUCCESSFULLY FOR THIS PRESIDENT IN RESPONSE TO RESOLUTIONS FROM KUCINICH!!!]

10:37 Republican Rep King is pointing out that "power to remove" means impeachment - and he's shocked and scandalized, and he's seen no impeachable offenses. King is voluntarily bringing up the forged Niger documents and defending the lies about attempts to purchase uranium (as if that would have justified an aggressive war if true, which it wasn't). He's claiming to have new proof and introducing it into the record without explaining it.

10:35 Rep Bobby Scott made brief remarks in support of today's hearing, but did not mention impeachment.

10:31 Conyers introduced Robert Wexler, and the audience applauded him. He's laying out the case for impeachment powerfully. Never before has an administration so diminished the powers of the legislative branch....ordered officials to refuse to testify or even appear... unprecedented ... distorted executive privilege beyond recognition ... most appropriate response is to hold hearings for impeachment [applause, and staffer reprimanding those of us applauding]. We have to seek impeachment and removal from office... Delicate balance of power eviscerated... not a Democratic or Republican issue, This is an American issue. The only option left is impeachment hearings. In 1973 articles of impeachment were introduced against Nixon after he tried to use executive privilege ... we should look more deeply into what happened... We need to begin to take our government and our country back.

Conyers reminds audience that we can make no reactions.

Wexler's full statement.

10:26 Ranking Republican Lamar Smith: We recently hosted a book of the month club. Nothing is going to come out of this for impeachment. I know it, the media knows it, the speaker knows it ... there's no evidence for impeachment. You cannot impeach a president simply because you don't like him. No evidence of any criminal wrong doing. 9% approve of Congress, making Bush look good at 32%. Americans want "bipartisanship." Smith is now reading an excerpt from the House Rules: no personally offensive language toward the president, etc...

10:19 a.m. ET Conyers is speaking quite to the point on the power of the purse and the power of impeachment (he said the power "to remove" and avoided the I word). He's mentioning politicization of Justice Dept, signing statements, detention, rendition, "possible" manipulation of intelligence, retaliation including outing of Plame, excessive secrecy. Evidence is both credible and substantial and merits direct answers from "the most senior members of the administration under oath if possible" (by which he likely means Bush and Cheney, but how does he propose to put them under oath? We will struggle with this legacy regardless of electoral outcome. Some say we've done too little too late [damn straight]. I held hearings on Downing Street Memo and Ohio elections before being chairman, and as chairman I've held more than 45 separate public hearings on these matters [to what end?]. We've sent subpoenas and pursued criminal contempt [with what outcome?]. We expect to take action against Karl Rove for refusal to comply with a subpoena [what action, when?, and will it include impeaching his former boss?] We've held investigations and passed legislation and we're not done until we achieve accountability [how, without impeachment?].

10:08 Very noisy protests ongoing in the hallway, which can be heard in the hearing room. My internet connection is shakey and I hope it holds out. Hearing has not begun. A huge number of congressional staffers are here filling up seats.

10:02 Noisy standing ovation by some 20 people when Dennis Kucinich and his wife Elizabeth and dedicated scheduler Amy Vossbrink walked in.

9:57 a.m. I'm in the back row with a power outlet and a good connection online. They let a grand total of 17 members of the public into the room. A crowd of hundreds is in the hallway shouting "Shame! Shame!" despite being offered two large overflow rooms. The 17 of us include a bunch of people with IMPEACH shirts, after we won an argument in the hallway for the right to wear them -- led by Col. (retired) Ann Wright. At least half of us (not I) are members of Vets for Peace. [18 people: Dave Lindorff got in as press]

7:48 A Capitol Police officer is here, making everyone (including disabled vets) stand, not sit, and preventing me from having my computer near a power outlet, so I'm going to turn it off and save the battery.

7:38 About 60 or 70 people are here in line. We're all impeachment advocates. We've made our own numbered tickets. Cynthia Papermaster is 1. Cindy Sheehan is 2. I'm 7. We're in the hallway outside Rayburn 2141, and nobody official has shown up yet. We don't know how many people will get in, and how many will sit in overflow rooms. By the way, it is unheard of to have or to need overflow rooms, but they will today. I'll be on Pacifica radio at 9:30. Their broadcast starts at 9:00 a.m. ET.

HJC Hearing on Bush v Constitution--WATCH C-SPAN

HJC ie The House Judicial Committee Hearing on Bush v the Constitution is being held today Friday, July 25, 2008 (which we expect will include a speech by President of Veterans for Peace) C-SPAN IS covering these events. This hearing on impeachable offenses is all too important and this window may not come again for some time...

Please WATCH this on C-SPAN now if at all possible & let others, especially MEDIA of various kinds know about this happening...NOW and later...Take notes, often independent and other news groups, reporters are glad to have your notes with direct quotes and otherwise as sure to include full names, sources and times... use this email to continue to ask that the hearing be replayed during the weekend at least twice for members of Congress who did not attend to view the proceedings and for the public.

Hearing on Impeachment TODAY Reports include Actions and live blogging...

Live Blogging Hearing on Impeachment (Not Yet Impeachment Hearing)
Submitted by davidswanson on Fri, 2008-07-25 11:35.

At least half of us (not I) are members of Vets for Peace--excerpt from early am...

10:19 a.m. ET Conyers is speaking quite to the point on the power of the purse and the power of impeachment (he said the power "to remove" and avoided the I word). He's mentioning politicization of Justice Dept, signing statements, detention, rendition, "possible" manipulation of intelligence, retaliation including outing of Plame, excessive secrecy.

Evidence is both credible and substantial and merits direct answers from "the most senior members of the administration under oath if possible" (by which he likely means Bush and Cheney, but how does he propose to put them under oath? We will struggle with this legacy regardless of electoral outcome. Some say we've done too little too late [damn straight]. I held hearings on Downing Street Memo and Ohio elections before being chairman, and as chairman I've held more than 45 separate public hearings on these matters [to what end?]. We've sent subpoenas and pursued criminal contempt [with what outcome?]. We expect to take action against Karl Rove for refusal to comply with a subpoena [what action, when?, and will it include impeaching his former boss?] We've held investigations and passed legislation and we're not done until we achieve accountability [how, without impeachment?].

10:08 Very noisy protests ongoing in the hallway, which can be heard in the hearing room. My internet connection is shakey and I hope it holds out. Hearing has not begun. A huge number of congressional staffers are here filling up seats.

10:02 Noisy standing ovation by some 20 people when Dennis Kucinich and his wife Elizabeth and dedicated scheduler Amy Vossbrink walked in.

9:57 a.m. I'm in the back row with a power outlet and a good connection online. They let a grand total of 17 members of the public into the room. A crowd of hundreds is in the hallway shouting "Shame! Shame!" despite being offered two large overflow rooms. The 17 of us include a bunch of people with IMPEACH shirts, after we won an argument in the hallway for the right to wear them -- led by Col. (retired) Ann Wright. At least half of us (not I) are members of Vets for Peace.

7:48 A Capitol Police officer is here, making everyone (including disabled vets) stand, not sit, and preventing me from having my computer near a power outlet, so I'm going to turn it off and save the battery.

7:38 About 60 or 70 people are here in line. We're all impeachment advocates. We've made our own numbered tickets. Cynthia Papermaster is 1. Cindy Sheehan is 2. I'm 7. We're in the hallway outside Rayburn 2141, and nobody official has shown up yet. We don't know how many people will get in, and how many will sit in overflow rooms. By the way, it is unheard of to have or to need overflow rooms, but they will today. I'll be on Pacifica radio at 9:30. Their broadcast starts at 9:00 a.m. ET.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Justice Gets a Hearing Friday

Suggestions came in from readers of After Downing Street and Veterans for Peace regarding the HJC ie The House Judicial Committee Hearing on Bush v the Constitution this Friday, July 25, 2008 (which will includes Veterans for Peace) Please REQUEST that C-SPAN cover these events. This hearing on impeachable offenses is all too important and this window may not come again for some time... This is the email address to request that C-SPAN cover the HJC hearing on Bush v the Constitution this Friday. In addition, ask that the hearing be replayed during the weekend at least twice for members of Congress who did not attend to view the proceedings.

You can also call 202-737-3220 to get C-SPAN and staff will transfer you to comments line. Staff reader spoke with said they "are very much aware of the hearing."

Many might also Fax, Call & Email the entire House Judiciary Committee--in fact it's exciting to think that we citizens who care about our country, our children, our constitution--3 Cs--would be holding kind of a nation-wide FAXING party to our legislators this week...even in the still of the night...SEE YU THERE!

Please send your FAX or other messages about the hearing on impeachable offenses on July 25th to members of the House Judiciary Committee. Here's the message a reader sent to the subcommittee on the Constitution. According to this reader, you can fax ALL of them with this number: FAX: 202-225-7680

Just to be on safe side, I'm also using my husband's office FAX...

Urge every member of the House Judiciary Committee to attend the hearing on impeachable offenses of GW Bush on July 25th, and to support full impeachment hearings for GW Bush.

Here is a Model for your own letter from a reader of After Downing Street to Legislators:

The Committee must not allow a president to mislead Congress nor spurn subpoenas.

This nation needs your nonpartisan statesmanship to defend the constitution and assert the authority of Congress.

Thank you for honoring your oaths to defend the US Constitution by using impeachment to call President Bush to account."

SEE more below--a letter of Thanks from Congressman Dennis Kucinich...

Thanks to Citizen Support, Impeachment Will Be Heard

TRANSCRIPT--Thank You from Dennis Kucinich: I want to thank you for the support which you have given to my efforts to hold this administration accountable for taking us into a war based on lies and for the destruction of the rule of law and the destruction of cherished constitutional principles.

Because of your support, this Friday in Washington, DC, I will make a presentation before the Judiciary Committee of the House of Representatives at which time I will make the case that this president has violated his oath of office, violated United States law and international law, has separated our nation from our constitution, and has taken us on a course that has been so profoundly anti-democratic that it has threatened the core of our nation.

Because of your support, I have been able to advance this series of matters right to the table of the Judiciary Committee.

Because of your support, I have been able to create an opening so we’re finally getting a chance in Washington to discuss the abuses of power, to discuss a war based on lies, to discuss the whole architecture of constitutional principles that have been taken down.

Every serious matter that faces the people of this country today can be linked to an administration which is not accountable.

For example, the price of gasoline. You know that Vice President Cheney with the permission and blessing of President Bush held secret meetings with leaders of the oil industry where they laid out maps of Iraq far in advance of the attack on Iraq. You know and I know the war was about oil, and if we can force the vice president of the United States to have to testify, we can get the information that is necessary to be able to prove that not only has US law been violated, but that the public trust has been under a continuous assault by an alliance between the White House and the oil companies.

You look at the sub-prime lending fiasco with millions of Americans having the dream of home ownership threatened, and you look at an administration that took the cops off the beat at the Securities and Exchange Commission that enabled the Fed to look the other way when they should have been disciplining the banks. The American people had a right to expect the government would protect their interests.

When you look at the shakeout in the stock market and all these small investors who are losing their life savings, again the Bush administration and their alliance with interest groups, violating an oath of office, enabling these interest groups to steal from the American people, over and over and over again.

For the first time we are going to have a chance to raise these issues in the Judiciary Committee in the context of a hearing at which I am going to present the Articles of Impeachment so that the Committee cannot say, well, they just didn’t know. We are going to force this issue because of you.

We are in danger of losing our country to war based on lies, to destruction of our civil liberties, but it is your commitment and your willingness to stand up and speak out that has enabled me to take a stand and to say not only are we going to save what is right and save what is dear to us, but we are going to hold this administration accountable so that it never happens again.

This is truly our moment. Friday is the beginning. Thank you for supporting this effort with signing petitions, with your emails and your letters and your phone calls.

I pledge to you that I will continue my efforts to defend a way of life that the American people have a right to expect – to expect to have a government they can call their own – to expect to have a government that will tell them the truth – to expect to have a government that is worthy of the tradition of democracy.

Thank you.
Follow these events and see more, including a video from Kucinich, on After Downing Street.

Monday, July 21, 2008

CCR Executive Director Vincent Warren Denounces Mukasey Scheme to Have Congress Delay Habeas Hearings

CONTACT: From The Center for Constitutional Rights

July 21, 2008, New York – In response to leaked portions of Attorney General Michael Mukasey’s speech to be delivered this morning, Center for Constitutional Rights Executive Director Vincent Warren issued the following statement:

“What Mukasey is doing is a shocking attempt to drag us into years of further legal challenges and delays. The Supreme Court has definitively spoken, and there is no need for congressional intervention. The Supreme Court explicitly said in Boumediene that the two prior attempts by Congress to intervene to prevent detainees from having access to the courts were unconstitutional.

“For six and a half years, Congress and the Bush Administration have done their level best to prevent the courts from reviewing the legality of the detention of the men in Guantanamo. Congress should be a part of the solution this time by letting the courts do their job.

“The strength of this country rests on our willingness to embrace a system of justice, to allow courts to consider the facts and interpret the law. As the most senior lawyer in the government, the Attorney General should allow justice at long last to proceed.”

CCR has led the legal battle over Guantanamo for the last six years – sending the first ever habeas attorney to the base and sending the first attorney to meet with a former CIA “ghost detainee.” CCR has been responsible for organizing and coordinating more than 500 pro bono lawyers across the country in order to represent the men at Guantanamo, ensuring that nearly all have the option of legal representation. CCR represented the detainees with co-counsel in the most recent argument before the Supreme Court on December 5, 2007.

The Center for Constitutional Rights is dedicated to advancing and protecting the rights guaranteed by the United States Constitution and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Founded in 1966 by attorneys who represented civil rights movements in the South, CCR is a non-profit legal and educational organization committed to the creative use of law as a positive force for social change.